Strong loans growth for OCBC in Chongqing

OCBC Bank said its operations in the Chinese city of Chongqing are thriving, thanks in part to a bilateral government-led initiative to make the city a logistics and services hub.

The lender said in a statement yesterday that there has been "a significant boost in loans growth, which tripled year on year in November" at the city's branch, operated by its OCBC Wing Hang China unit.

The OCBC outlet was also ranked top among 15 leading foreign banks in Chongqing in terms of customer loans growth last year.

OCBC said the lending came with strong credit quality and was broad-based across the key sectors of the Chongqing economy.

The city's bustling economy is partly due to an initiative launched in November 2015 to make it a key centre for logistics and services.

OCBC has since struck several partnership agreements with Chongqing financial institutions "to collaborate in a broad range of business areas and deepened relationships with leading state-owned enterprises to meet their financing and business expansion needs".

One partnership involved OCBC entering a memorandum of understanding with the Chongqing Financial Affairs Office in January last year to develop the city's financial services industry.

This initiative led the lender to team up with four Chinese banks last year, including Chongqing Rural Commercial Bank, the largest local commercial bank in the city.

The two banks agreed to collaborate in a range of business areas, from loans to trade finance.

"Both banks have been exploring offshore financing and capital raising opportunities and will be launching the first joint business initiative in these areas soon," OCBC said.

Ms Kng Hwee Tin, executive director and chief executive of OCBC Wing Hang China, said: "We are seeing good results... (and) positioned ourselves to capture these opportunities by establishing alliances with the local banks and supporting leading government enterprises in their business expansion."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2017, with the headline 'Strong loans growth for OCBC in Chongqing'. Subscribe